Ketogenic Diet Part II: 30 Days In, Feeling Good, but Losing Gains?

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I’ve done it!

30 days of a continuous ketogenic diet.

How has it been?

It’s been great! In fact, really easy, at least for me.

The results?

Mostly good, and some areas for concern.

During PART I, you will know I gave my first few days experience on the diet. I relayed the astounding positive energy difference I felt, but the drop in gym performance, particularly feeling flat and not as strong as I normally do when I was on a carb-based diet.

This was my biggest concern continuing the diet, and curious of how exactly my strength would hold up, especially since I lost weight transitioning to the diet (about 8 pounds: 188 to ~180).

Well, I’m here to inform you that I’ve lost some gains. Yes, unfortunately, some of my strength has diminished and it’s been frustrating, since I’ve been progressing steadily as the year has progressed (mostly).

(Check out my STRENGTH GAINS series in PART I and PART II).

My number ONE PRIORITY during this past month was to MAINTAIN MY STRENGTH. This was my primary goal and I attempted to follow my programming (I was on 5/3/1 during the past month). I continued everything like normal, even though my diet had changed radically.

What happened?

Struggle! That’s what happened.

Struggle to maintain my strength, and struggle to maintain my endurance training (HIIT and circuit workouts, of course). I struggled to “turn it on” when the time came to lift the weight, and felt I had to exert so much more energy than usual to complete the lift and given set(s).

BUT, you know what?

I did complete the sets and reps I needed to at my required weights and intensities. Only thing, however, it didn’t always look pretty. My form often broke down more than usual because I felt fatigued at some points, but, as I mentioned, just couldn’t “TURN IT ON” like I used to. I’m referring to that slight controlled adrenaline rush you get when you lift that provides you that extra edge to complete the set (those who lift know what I’m talking about). This was at least what occurred for the first 2 and half weeks or so.

During the 3rd and 4th weeks I started to feel more of a “PUMP” and strong again. However, this return to optimal performance occurred in spurts, from one training session to another. One session I would feel great and have little time where I felt “weak.” Others times, though, I felt mediocre in my abilities.

What was the difference?

My best guess is time of day.

I felt better during my morning training sessions rather than my afternoon training sessions, despite fasting. From a previous article you will know I follow intermittent fasting as a pattern of eating, and have had great success over the past 4 years practicing it. You might think that I would feel worse, but NO. I felt and often feel better.

WHY???

I’m not completely sure, but maybe it’s my routine and my body is better prepared for the work (my guess, at least).

I did all the same things for my afternoon workouts as my morning workouts. I took my electrolyte supplements (I use this one), my pre-workout, and my enthusiasm (or lack there of, lol).

I’m not sure what it was, but it was a noticeable difference.

(NOTE: afternoon workouts have always been my least favorite. I prefer mornings and evenings if possible).

The good news is that it has gotten better as I continue on the KETO diet.

All the positive effects…

  • Significant increase in consistent energy throughout the day (no afternoon crash)
  • Better mood day-to-day (much more positive)
  • Enhanced mental performance and function (more creative and productive)
  • Clearer skin (brighter complexion)
  • Better body composition (less fat)
  • I can handle stress better (may be due to better mood, mental performance, etc.)

is just too much for me to call it “QUITS” for the KETO DIET right now. I want to keep going and will figure out the strength part of the equation as I continue.

Where there’s a will there’s a way and I’ll get to my strength goals.

HENCE, I WILL CONTINUE KETO.

As always, thanks for reading and stopping by. Comment down below with your questions, and be sure to stay tuned as I continue my KETO series and update my strength programming.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

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“Is a Calorie a Calorie?” Part II: Making Dietary Adjustments

 

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Thanks for tuning in for PART II of my series on “Is a Calorie a Calorie?” If you missed PART I click HERE to read it.

Knowing PART I, you will know that a main factor preventing many people from weight-loss is abnormal insulin levels — either too high or a yo-yo effect disrupting normal function of the body’s biochemistry.

As a result, what can be done to rectify these energy system malfunctions?

Several things, most of which can be done NOW and it all starts with DIET.

Diet is the First Change for a Reason

The diet is the first thing that must be audited and changed because it is the primary reason why a perons’ biochemistry — particularly their energy systems — is not operating like it should.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about refer to PART I).

For instance, someone may be consuming apple or orange fruit juice because it has vitamins, which is supposed to make it “healthy” leading to the belief that it is healthy. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Just because something has “vitamins or minerals” does not mean it is “HEALTHY.” Often times, juices have as much, or even more, calories than soda, and the calories are almost entirely SUGAR. I do not care if is packaged as “organic, non-GMO, no added-sugar, and cold pressed.” Sugar is sugar and it will do what sugar does: cause problems.

It (SUGAR disguised as juice in this scenario) causes problems because too many consume it in EXCESS. The American Heart Association, for instance, says no more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) of ADDED-SUGAR for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men per day. You drink one glass of juice and you’re past it.

NOT GOOD.

Again, sugar causes problems because it is in almost everything you buy at the store, especially in the typical American diet of processed foods. This is why I have DIET — the foods habitually consumed daily — as the FIRST place to start in the effort to lose excess body-weight (fat) because it has the highest impact on your weight.

The way to improve the diet is to alter the diet through changing one’s perspective on food.

Please read on…

Making DIETARY Adjustments: A Diet Philosophy

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As a trainer at a commercial gym, I’ve got to experience many different walks of people. From teenagers to the senior citizens and everyone in-between.

Out of the 80+ people I’ve got to work with so far, 90% of them want to lose weight. Out of that 90%, 75% of them need to lose a significant amount of weight, which, in my opinion, I consider more than 20 pounds.

Based on these numbers, I’ve deduced that most of these wonderful people have been mislead in believing the old dogma of “eating less and exercising more equals weight-loss.”

In many instances, this is completely true! This is the story for many people, including some of the people I’ve trained, and myself making this simple adjustment.

BUT, out of that 75% I said had to lose 20 or more pounds, I’d say about 80% of those people practice “EAT LESS AND MOVE MORE” already. After 4 to 8 weeks they don’t lose a pound, OR…they lose maybe 10, even 20, and the weight-loss hits a wall. It just stops.

No matter how much they, and many others, restrict calories or workout, nothing is really getting better. For some reason the body does not want to lose weight, specifically BURN FAT, even though they have so much available. This problem must be solved and it has 100% to do with what foods they are (or not) eating.

At this point they may become discouraged, and that is when I step in and say there may be more to the story than meets the eye by introducing the underlying issues of their metabolism and energy systems not working properly.

What I suggest is that they re-haul their diet by adopting an alternative diet philosophy, such as a ketogenic, paleo, or slow-carb diet.

The reason?

Because these type of diets will aid in controlling insulin levels, which is the primary reason why fat cannot be used and lost.

Also, these diets teach people to eat cleaner, less adulterated, processed food that provide the body with increased nutrition. This means eating better quality macros (protein, fats, carbs) without an abundance of food pollution — pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc. — as well as getting increased fiber, probiotics, and increased vitamins and mineral quantities.

Odds are once they make the switch weight-loss will follow.

Follow Rule #1 with Your Diet

Once a diet philosophy is ADOPTED, remember RULE #1…

FOLLOW THE DIET EXACTLY AS INTENDED.

This means the diet philosophy picked must be followed exactly as outlined. There is no cutting corners. Remember, the diet is constructed and put together in a particular way for a reason. Making “adjustments” (a.k.a cheating) is not allowed. Sure. Have a cheat meal here and there and it won’t kill you. It’s probably going to happen at one point or another, especially early on. I’m not talking about that, and, from time to time, I encourage it. Enjoy any type of “good tasting food” once in awhile and live life fully. That said, however, what I am talking about is any adjustment that you make that occurs day after day negating the full benefits of the diet.

For example, if on a KETOGENIC diet many can get away with eating some fruit, especially berries, from time to time, particularly before a workout. The reason is because berries are lower in sugar, higher in fiber, and any sugar (carbs) you intake will be burned quickly during your workout. It won’t “stay around.” HOWEVER, if you consume some type of fruit everyday, regardless of an activity or not, it is going to be hard for your body to stay and get back into ketosis. That is the whole point of the diet — to be in ketosis to burn fat for energy. CARBS, any direct source like fruit, disrupt this. Thus, the diet must be followed EXACTLY how it is intended.

NO EXCUSES.

Hence, RULE #1.

Remember this for Rule #1 to be Successful

In order to satisfy RULE #1 you must have a certain attitude.

What is it?

UNDERSTANDING THAT A DIET PHILOSOPHY IS A TYPE OF PERSPECTIVE ON FOOD.

To expand on this, it means that the “diet being followed” (keto, paleo, vegan, IIFYM, etc.) is a PERSPECTIVE on HOW TO EAT FOR A PURPOSE and not HOW LONG or necessarily WHAT TO EAT.

This is because people far too often look at the word “DIET” as a VERB.

No, no, no, no, no!!!

DIET needs to be understood as a NOUN. As a noun, diet refers to the foods you habitually (consistently) eat on a daily basis.

THIS IS WHAT A DIET IS.

Understand that when a certain diet philosophy is practiced, like paleo, vegan, vegetarian, ketogenic, if it fits your macros (IIFYM), etc., that is a person’s perspective on food and what he or she thinks is best for him or her to be in their best health and/or achieve their goals (at least, at that moment).

As a result, this diet philosophy is practiced consistently over extended periods of time until the person adopts a different diet philosophy and changes their attitude and perspective on food for different goals (i.e. to lose weight or fat, or gain muscle). It’s all normal.

This is why the change to eat healthier, or losing weight, must have a long-term mindset, or VISION, because it is what will lead to positive changes to last (weight-loss, increased muscle mass, better endurance and energy, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, etc.).

For some growing up, for example, eating sugary cereal for breakfast is normal, even considered healthy! But, maybe that person changes their perspective on food and diet and decides to have a salad for breakfast. CRAZY! (That was me!)

This is because certain things considered normal are only normal because of culture and the way of one’s upbringing surrounding food. This culture and upbringing is usually narrow-minded and only instantly satisfying (the food tastes good and it’s easy).

That is why for any change to happen a change on the perspective and attitude surrounding food must be met.

Conclusion

I must say that I love food, and it’s a ritual that I enjoy and look forward to daily. Whether I’m on what some call a “strict” diet or not, I love the food that I’m eating and feel even better knowing that my food is working for me and not against me (at least most times, haha).

This is why auditing the diet and making proper DIETARY (and MENTAL) adjustments is the first place to start.

I encourage you to modify your diet through changing (either opening and/or expanding) your attitude and perspective on food and what a good, wholesome, and nutritious diet can do for you. A good place to start is cutting out the junk (no McDonald’s cheeseburgers, Krispy Kreme donuts, Starbuck’s frappucinos, Doritos, etc.), and replacing it with foods in their most basic form, as a single ingredient (what you find on the perimeter of a grocery store). Making this simple adjustment is something you do right now. This will help you develop and/or improve habits and rituals that surround eating food. Adopting a diet philosophy will help in this regard and that is why I highly recommend it.

From these adjustments your attitude toward food changes and you begin to think of DIET in the noun sense. This leads to real results that last, potentially, your whole life. This is why DIET is the first thing to address in losing weight, and not exercise or anything else.

This is especially true if you have tried “everything” and can’t lose the weight. It’s likely because there is more to the story like abnormal insulin levels (for whatever reason). Sticking to the old “cut calories and exercise more” mindset becomes ineffective. Good luck with following that…

So…be open and try a diet philosophy that you connect with and give it solid time. I’d say a month at the very least.

Need help? PRACTICE THESE STEPS:

  1. Audit and review your diet (record every last thing that you eat or drink, including your eating habits).
  2. Understand where you calories come from by knowing your macro profile (what makes up your protein, fats, and carbs and what foods they come from).
  3. Make proper adjustments (cutting the sugar, increasing fiber, drinking more water, just eating more wholesome foods, etc.).
  4. Implement those adjustments immediately and combine it with a diet philosophy (a way of eating explained earlier) that you think can most help you NOW.

Do that and you’ll have success (weight-loss, better health markers, etc.) in some way.

Stay tuned for PART III as I explore other factors that affect your weight-loss and performance in and out of the gym.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

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(Photo Credit 2)

“Is a Calorie a Calorie?” Part I: Sugar, Simple Carbs, and Insulin

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Is a calorie a calorie?

Ask any health or fitness professional and the answer is usually a resounding “YES.”

That’s because of the first Law of Thermodynamics (conservation of energy) is stated as a concrete fact as it pertains to the human body’s use of calories from food for energy, and it’s as simple as CALORIES IN EQUALS CALORIES OUT.

In case you’re unfamiliar to the Law of Conservation of Energy, it states that “energy cannot be created nor destroyed just transformed or transferred in some way, in a closed system.”

As an equation, it can be stated as: U = Q – W.

“U” is the internal energy of the system (or body-weight), “Q” is the heat supplied by the system (the calories eaten in a day) and “W” is the work done by the system (the calories burned by your body for any given action or metabolic processes in a day).

In other words, a calorie is a calorie in our system (our bodies) and will always equal the same no matter what. For instance, if your diet consisted of 1500 calories from all simple carbs and sugar sources, like bread, potato chips, cookies, candies, etc., it would EQUAL THE SAME CALORIES AND CAUSE THE SAME EFFECT from a balanced diet of meats, veggies, good fats, and slow digesting carbs.

Using the first Law of Thermodynamics this statement is true. It doesn’t matter what food you eat as long as you’re eating the right amount of calories to either gain, lose, or maintain your body weight for a given energy expenditure. In other words, the classic saying “Calories in equals calories out” remains true based on the first Law of Thermodynamics.

Weight-gain is, essentially, the result of poor behaviors and ultimately down to “personal choice.”

On the surface, this makes complete sense, but recently there has been new evidence challenging this statement.

For instance…

What if the first Law of Thermodynamics did not fit our diet completely? What if our biological chemistry firstly dictates how the calories we consume interact with our bodies based on our current physiology, resulting in different ways certain macronutrients are processed, or expressed, in our body system?

This, I think, is a question that should be further investigated because, as a population, more people are overweight now, yet we’ve heard for years that it’s as simple as cutting your calories and exercising more.

Don’t you think if it was that easy that more of us would be in shape?

Just food for thought (pun intended).

And do not get me wrong…

I understand that this calorie balance is the first step in any weight-loss endeavor. The majority of Americans sit for longer periods of time more than ever today, and have access to an abundance of food at their fingertips. Put that together and it’s no mystery that we’re so fat.

BUT, IS THAT IT?

Is there nothing more going on in this story of obesity and being overweight?

I can’t say for sure that there is or not, but given the circumstances, I think there must be more to the story then just to say, “people are lazy, cheetoh hungry slobs that just don’t care.”

I believe that may be true to a degree, BUT I think the majority of people who are overweight DO CARE about  losing weight and TRY, but do not get very far because the story of calories in equals calories out is incomplete.

Many lose some weight in the beginning with more exercise and calorie reduction in their diet, but soon after that progress stops and they are left discouraged after weeks of no progress. No matter what they try they just cannot seem to lose the weight.

Working with clients myself as a trainer, I’ve come to understand that people are complicated, and saying they should stick to the current dogma is losing credibility and traction because, quite frankly, it’s not really working anymore in TODAY’S DIET. It is failing and, hence, must be investigated.

Keeping it as simple as CALORIES IN = CALORIES OUT seems to not tell the full story in my book.

Let’s dig deeper.

How are (Simple) Carbs Used by the Body

To first understand the energy equation we must first understand how energy (Calories from food) is used and processed by the body.

To make things simple, watch the video below.

I think the video above does a great job at explaining how sugar metabolism takes place in the body and what exactly is going on. Since sugar is so abundant in our food supply today, it makes it extremely difficult to limit your intake of it, allowing excess sugar consumption to be the norm. Foods you think would not have sugar, like meat, crackers, and chips, have them. That’s why I’m always an advocate of checking the food label and making sure, first-hand, there is no question about it.

But, aren’t we told that we need carbohydrates for energy? That’s what the food pyramid tells us, right?

That is true, yes, but the food pyramid is outdated and has barely changed with the times.

The food pyramid tells us that the base — the majority of our calories — should be from carbs, including pastas, grains, and flours. If you want to become a bodybuilder or an offensive lineman then sure, that might be a good option for you. You can do that. BUT, since most of us don’t need to be 250 to 300 pounds for a job that’s probably not the best option to go with.

What we need is more balance in our diet from whole-food sources.

I’m not saying going ketogenic and cutting carbs altogether. No. But, just making simple changes by consuming more complex carbs (increasing fiber) and less simple ones (devoid of fiber) is a good start to balance blood sugar (insulin). Throw in good protein and fat sources, like quality chicken, fish, avocados, meat, and nuts, and you have a much better combination to lose weight and be healthier, with daily exercise activity added in.

If not, then the chance of flooding your body with simple carbs is high (the highly processed “American Diet”). This causes a tidal wave of INSULIN as a response, contributing to METABOLIC SYNDROME (insulin resistance) over-time, and, eventually, Type II Diabetes and other health defects.

Metabolic Syndrome and Weight

METABOLIC SYNDROME is a name given to refer to abnormal functions of your biochemistry that dictate bodily functions and processes. By definition, if you have three or more of the following criteria, you have metabolic syndrome:

  • Abdominal obesity (Waist circumference of greater than 40 inches in men, and greater than 35 inches in women)
  • Triglyceride level of 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or greater
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 85 mm Hg or greater
  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater

(Source: American Heart Association)

Metabolic syndrome is so BAD because it puts you at a much higher risk of developing chronic diseases, like heart disease, Type II diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, heart attack, and so forth. All of these share one things in commoninsulin resistance or abnormally high blood sugar levels. One of the main contributors to this is the abundance of SUGAR and SIMPLE CARBS in the diet. These two become such a HUGE problem because many often consume them in excess, leading to metabolic syndrome to manifest itself (weight-gain, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar turning into insulin resistance).

It’s because our body cannot process simple carbs and sugars in abundance, like how we eat them. It’s just doesn’t work. The body does it’s best and stores it as fat because it has nowhere else to put the remaining glucose it breaks down from the many simple carbs that are ingested.

This causes lots of visceral fat (fat around your organs) leading to dangerous health effects deteriorating our health.

If you have read doctor Robert Lustig’s book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Chronic Disease, then you will also be familiar that obesity (what simple sugars invariably cause over-time if not kept in check) is a symptom of metabolic syndrome from a hormonal imbalance, or malfunction, in which leptin (the hormone that tells us we’re full) does not reach the hypothalamus (the command center of our appetite and how our digestive system functions) due to excess insulin being released by the body to handle the simple carbs and sugars. This causes our bodies to go in “STARVATION” mode causing much of the food we consume put towards FAT.

This explains those individuals who severely restrict their calories and exercise more do not get much anywhere because our hormones and body-chemistry will not let us use our “fat stores” for energy. If they have any success it is typically short lived, and they often gain the weight back with any change in calories and reduction in exercise once they do.

Thus, you must stop and reverse any high blood sugar (insulin) levels FIRST and then you can tackle weight-loss.

High and consistent insulin levels means you can’t burn FAT!

STOP HIGH INSULIN.

Making the Change to Reduce Insulin

Reducing insulin levels and making sure they remain more consistent is hard, but doable.

Yes, I understand that your habits and lifestyle play a part in that, because a diet is temporary and habits, and/or a lifestyle, are potentially life long. I’m an advocate of this, and agree 100% that you need a healthy lifestyle (like a well-balanced diet and much exercise/physical activity performed daily). That said, however, it is not the one-all be-all solution to how simple carbs, and food in general, affect us.

There are so many different moving parts to what’s going on that simplifying weight-gain to The First Law is a discredit to everyone who is over-weight. Essentially, you’re saying they want to be fat and overweight and they are just soft. Maybe to a degree, but often times they just don’t know what to do.

Believe it or not they are the majority now, or at least will be very soon, and I doubt that was their goal — TO BE FAT.

NO WAY.

No one wants to have a higher chance of dying sooner, and developing chronic illnesses and disease that deteriorate their quality of life on a day-to-day basis where they can’t function, while straining their personal life and pocket at the same time. This causes a harsh decline in self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-efficacy, which make their life miserable

I was there myself and lost the 100 pounds and I’ve kept it off for 6 years now. I’m the extreme minority when it comes to weight-loss, so I know what the HELL I’M TALKING ABOUT.

What helped me was a curiosity to figure this weight-loss process. To feel better day-to-day and not have nagging minor ailments (acne, brain fog, lethargy, poor self confidence, to name a few), added up together, to make me miserable. And that is what I was — miserable.

I refused to be fat and that is what opened my eyes to seeking alternative solutions to the weight-loss problem. Eating better and exercising more helped me right away — absolutely. I have not said and will never say it does not. What I am saying is that to lose “all the weight you want” you have to think of diet as just “NOT A DIET.” It is a different way of thinking and living that you have to accept.

Essentially, changing your biochemistry for the better through particular environmental changes.

That is what has helped me.

This is what will help PEOPLE solve THEIR insulin equation, which will help those that seem to can’t lose any fat or weight to lose it and keep it off. Ultimately, that is what really counts — keeping the weight off.

Stay tuned for Part II where I will discuss methods, procedures, and plans to change your physical and physiological environment for the better to lose the weight.

As always, thanks for stopping by and subscribe if not already.

Please leave your comments down below because this is such an important topic.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

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I’ve Gone Ketoenic! Part I: Days 1-3

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I’ve gone Ketogenic!

Yes, the high fat diet to ironically burn fat!

Or, at least, as Keto supporters claim.

Over the past few weeks I have slowly been transitioning. First, at tightening my fasting and eating windows (16 hours fasting and an 8 hour eating window), while simultaneously slowly decreasing my daily carbohydrate intake. Finally, this past Thursday (August 10, 2017), I made the switch to a full Ketogenic diet and I am now on the fourth day (August 13, 2017).

For a lot of people, a ketogenic diet means different specific macronutrient splits. For me, I consider Keto the following macro splits of your total daily caloric intake:

  • Fats = 70-75%
  • Protein = 20-25%
  • Carbs = 5-10%

Sure, some claim to eat as much as 80% plus of fats with 15% protein, and <5% carbs. Regardless, Keto is high fat, and ultra low carb (30 to 50 grams a day, sometimes up to a 100, depending on the person).

Over the past weeks, I have done tons of research, including: listening to podcasts with Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino, scouring the web with contrasting sources on what’s generally good and bad, what is allowed and what is not, how to best workout on a keto diet, and tips to avoid the “Keto Flu”. I have done this in an effort to experience a new way of dieting, lose excess body-fat — I’M STARTING THIS AT 183.5LBS AT ~13.5% BF — while serving as a guinea pig for my clients and anybody else who seeks weight and fat-loss.

So far, so good.

I’ll sum up my first 3 days below.

Keto Day 1

My first day of Keto actually felt great!

My first and last meal of the day were the same and I had the first one around 11:30 A.M. after a ~15 hour fast. Below is the breakdown:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 turkey sausage
  • A few cups of sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms, cooked in Kerrygold grass-fed butter
  • A large handful of mixed greens with some organic white cheddar cheese and no sugar balsamic vinaigrette
  • A dollop of chipotle mayonnaise.

Below is the macro summary using my FitBit app.

As you can see, quite a bit of calories.

After my meal, I did some work and then headed to the gym to get my workout in. My first workout on keto did not feel too bad. I actually felt pretty good! Luckily, it was my de-load week, which suits the diet transition, since it’ll take some time to adapt to it.

Of course, I’m sure I was going through my glycogen stores, since my type of workouts (powerlifting and HIIT). Either way, felt good, especially after.

What was striking to me was the mental clarity after my workout. It was something that I haven’t experienced in a long time. There was no mental fog that I often experience, and my mood and mental focus were greatly enhanced. I almost got high on the feeling, in fact.

This is something that has been consistent starting out — my energy levels.

At this point, I’m excited, but trying not to go overboard (as you will see).

Below are my total macros for Keto Day 1:

Day 2 of Keto

Day 2 was much different than my first day on keto.

First off, my sleep wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I had to wake up a couple times to pee, and that decreased the quality of sleep because I had trouble falling back asleep (I rarely wake up sleeping).

I woke up (around 6:00 A.M.), had a client in the morning, and then had my training after (around 8:30 A.M.). Going into my workout I made sure to take my SODIUM, MAGNESIUM, AND POTASSIUM electrolyte supplement beforehand, and decided to have my pre-workout (0 carbs, 0 sugar) and BCAA supplement (0 carbs, 0 sugar).

Yes, I know that there are many debating thoughts regarding whether or not BCAAs can kick you out of ketosis, in addition to some artificial sweeteners (like ace-K, and sucralose). I didn’t get a full consensus that it would kick you out (the fear it might raise insulin levels), so I decided to take it anyway. What the hell, right!?

I felt okay, especially considering I didn’t get the greatest sleep, and felt confident to lift heavy that day, despite it being my de-load week. I did squats and went all the way up to 385, my current max. I didn’t get it, needed a spot, but I consider that mainly psychological since I kind of psyched myself out.

That was most of my workout, in addition to a rehab shoulder routine I did for my right shoulder complex (dealing with some AC joint trouble).

After, I had a similar meal the day before, but with turkey meat and eggs (2 of my meals).

For my final meal I had broccoli and cauliflower grilled in a pan with salt and butter.

Below are my final macros for the day:

That wraps up day 2.

 

Keto Day 3

Day 3 of Keto was up and down.

First, a little down (possibly some “Keto Flu” symptoms), and then better as the day went on, with more consistent energy levels.

I did not workout this day, so I did not eat as many macros as I did the past 2 days.

Below are my ending macro splits (I ate the same meals from day 1, but I added a different type of sausage and some avocado).

3 Day Summary

My first 3 days on Keto were solid, in opinion.

Nothing extraordinary yet, but I’m not feeling terrible, like I’ve read and heard many people say. Today is day four and it’s going okay. Could have been better because I did not eat right after my morning workout (fasted), but okay nonetheless.

My muscles feel “deflated”, but things are tightening at the same time, especially the waist. I like this feeling, but the most important thing for me is to keep my powerlifting and overall fitness performance high. I love HIIT and powerlifting and, as far as what I’ve studied, it’s hard to perform these activities while on a keto diet (because your body prefers glucose). This is MOST important because I want to optimize my performance and keep/add my strength. Hard I know, but I’ll be pushing it at the same time and trying to maximize my recovery potential.

We will see, but I’m just taking this day-by-day and experimenting like everyone who first starts to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

If you have any questions or have some advice please let me know in the comments below!!!

Stay tuned for my next post as I finish my first week.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

(Photo Credit)

Thoughts on Gains: Vertical Dieting

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If you’re into lifting and don’t know who Stan Efferding is then shame on you!

(Click HERE to learn more about the White Rhino and visit his YouTube page HERE).

If you do then I’m sure you have heard him talk about his diet routine when he was competing in powerlifting and bodybuilding, especially when training with Flex Wheeler.

Listen to him enough, and you might hear him say something called “VERTICAL DIET.”

When I heard Stan say and describe this diet philosophy I got excited. The reason is  because that is exactly how I structure my own diet!

I was shocked, and excited to know that I follow the same diet philosophy as Stan. This made me say “I must be doing something right.”

Jokes aside, once Stan started to break down and share some thoughts on vertical dieting it all clicked for me. I realized that I was doing something that was maximizing the hard work I put in to the gym. This made me happy and excited to share the idea with everyone listening.

If you listen to the latest Juggernaut Training Systems (JTS) podcast with Stan (click HERE to watch on YouTube) he goes over this in more detail. He shares this was the diet he was on when he broke his records in powerlifting that helped him achieve a 2,303 total in his 40’s. Crazy.

Regardless, Stan is planning on releasing an eBook on vertical dieting in the future, but, in the meantime, I’ll break it down for you here in my own words, with my thoughts on the diet.

What is Vertical Dieting?

Vertical dieting is having a narrow selection of foods for carbs, fats, and protein that aim to maximize the nutrient density of what you are eating .

For instance, instead of having a wide spectrum of different foods on a daily and weekly basis, instead, you would have a small group of foods with a high nutrient density that constitute each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fats).

For carbs, you may have rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. Protein, might be chicken, eggs, and steak. Fats might be avocado, coconut oil, and almonds. Throw in a select group of vegetables and fruits and you are set.

The purpose of a vertical diet is to BUILD EFFICIENCY.

Eating a narrow range of foods for each macronutrient allows this to happen because you train your body’s digestive system to be efficient at breaking down those foods, and getting the maximum nutrient absorption from it. This, in theory, causes less stress on your digestive system because it is not dealing with a diverse range of foods to digest, which may decrease the likelihood of inflammation in the gut.

This, over time, leads to less time the food is in your digestive system overall, which promotes greater meal frequency, less bloating in the gut, and enhances the chances you can use the actual nutrients from the foods you eat to their fullest potential when eaten.

Again, efficiency that leads to greater results from the nutrients consumed.

Concerns With Vertical Dieting

The largest concern with vertical dieting is whether or not you are getting the adequate micronutrients that your body needs, like vitamins and minerals.

Short answer is that you are.

This is my opinion, at least.

Vertical dieting may seem counter intuitive to one of the most popular notions in dieting — “eating a wide and diverse range of food to cover all the nutrients that your body needs” — but the vertical diet philosophy satisfies this. It’s because it is all about building efficiency at breaking down the foods you consume and the nutrients they hold. If you eat dense foods on this diet, which is recommended, then you should have no problem.

For example, if you pick carb sources that lack nutrient density, such as white bread and pasta, then you may have a problem with certain B-vitamins and fiber. However, if you pick brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, and/or maybe quinoa as your primary sources of carbs then you are eating nutrient rich foods that provide you with plenty of micronutrients and fiber that your body demands. As a result, eating a select 2 or 3 dense sources of carbs, or any macronutrient, will give you a high return on your investment (ROI) for the food you eat.

This aids in the recovery process after hard workouts, so your muscles and surrounding tissues get the nutrients they need to repair and grow back stronger, faster, resulting in muscle hypertrophy and strength gains.

Another concern with vertical dieting is that it gets boring, and thus, not sustainable long-term.

This may be true to an extent, but if your goal is truly to maximize your muscle and strength gains then it is something that you will just have to get over.

Also, you can mix and match your food, add spices, and cook your food in different ways that make it more appetizing.

Finally, I believe the 80/20 rule applies to the vertical diet, like many other diets. For example, if 80% of the foods you eat are the foods within your vertical diet, then you can leave the last 20% to eat different types of food. This does not mean you binge on McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme over the weekend, but it means you might have something different than what’s on the menu most days.

This way you are still getting much of the benefits of vertical dieting, yet adding some flavor to your diet and breaking up some of the monotony.

Conclusion

Like with any diet, vertical dieting aims at giving you results. For this diet, in particular, it will help you have less decision fatigue of foods to eat. This makes preparing your food easier, which lessens the probability of eating out or choosing poor quality foods.

The vertical diet will also allow you to improve your digestive system’s efficiency at breaking down food, making it easier, over time, to absorb the nutrients found in the foods that you are eating in this diet philosophy. This will aid you in your recovery efforts after hard workouts by having greater ability to assimilate the nutrients found in the foods that you are eating. Thus, improving the likelihood for more gains.

Through this and improvements in increasing your ability to meet your meal frequency goals, along with decreasing your chances for bloating and inflammation in the gut, makes it worth trying.

If you doubt this philosophy I encourage you to give it a try because it easily fits any style of diet, such as paleo, keto, slow-carb, vegan, 33/33/33, etc. It is because the vertical diet allows you to pick and choose the best foods for you in each diet type giving you the ability to satisfy those requirements. This makes it sustainable for you while receiving the benefits of a vertical diet, as opposed to a horizontal one that allows you to eat anything in sight.

Leave me a comment down below and tell me what you think about this, and what it means for your diet.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

(Photo Credit)

Success Factors for Fitness and Health: Free Download

Hey everyone!!

I’m excited to announce that I’m offering my health guide, Success Factors of Health, as FREE to DOWNLOAD for anyone looking to improve their health and performance, both inside and out of the gym.

In the guide, you will find the four success factors you need to optimize daily to better achieve the health and fitness you are looking to reach.

They are simple, yet difficult in practice to accomplish, so I’ll go in detail through each one and present facts about each factor, and methods to better achieve reaching each one adequately.

To download my SUCCESS FACTORS of HEALTH guide, click HERE.

As always, thank you for stopping by, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time be strong and be you!

Best,

Cody

Should You Workout Fasted…MY EXPERIENCE

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Working out or training fasted.

  • Does it work for fat lost?
  • Does it hinder your strength and burn your muscle?
  • Is it even safe?

I’m sure if you’ve been working out for awhile you have probably heard some talk regarding this subject and these questions.

With that said, I am not here to present a body of evidence for or against fasted exercise, although I do advocate it. All I will do is give you my honest experience training fasted, and the results from it, giving you a new perspective allowing you to determine whether or not it is worth trying for you.

Yes, my experience is anecdotal evidence, but that does not make it useless.

At one time, or another, everything that has been studied in the fitness arena has been anecdotal. That’s why there are studies because someone says this or that works and it is then studied. That said, use my experience for what it’s worth: my experience.

My Fasted Training

Over the last 4 years, I have worked out in a fasted state regularly.

What exactly is considered a fasted state?

To me, fasting is not eating anything for 8 hours or more.

For example, if you stopped eating at 9:00pm and had breakfast the next day at 7:00am, then you would have fasted for 10 hours.

With that said, I have trained fasted for as much as 3 to 4 times per week (currently, I am training twice a week fasted) for approximately the last 4 years. These fasted workouts are the same type of workouts I do if I wasn’t fasting. I’m lifting heavy weights, pushing myself as hard as I can, and not going light.

What has my experience been like?

It’s been great.

How do I measure that?

I measure that based on my level of strength week-to-week, my body composition (weight and body fat percentage), and just how I feel overall the rest of the day compared to other days I do not work out fasted.

I know some of that measure is subjective, but measure nonetheless. During my time training fasted, I’ve kept my level of strength, improved it, and increased my lean muscle mass, as well as endurance.

How do I do I train fasted?

Typically, the night before I exercise fasted, I stop eating anywhere from 8 to 10pm, based upon my current schedule. I typically wake around 7am, and arrive at the gym from 8:30 to 9am. Between that time, I hydrate as soon as I wake by drinking lots of water, usually 32 to 50 ounces, and do some light stretching and mobility exercises before the gym. Next, I drink a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement before I leave.

Once I arrive to the gym, I do my warm-up routine and start my workout. During my workout, I’ll drink plenty of fluids and take more BCAAs to keep going hard until the end. After my workout, I might take more BCAAs or, finally, break my fast and eat a protein bar or my post workout meal (it all depends).

Importance of BCAAs

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Now, let me explain to you why I take BCAAs while training fasted.

I’m sure many of you have your own opinion on them, but I do believe they are a supplement worth taking, especially if you are going to work out fasted.

BCAAs are the amino acids that first break down when you start to workout once your muscle begins to break down. They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and are essential amino acids. This means they must be obtained through the diet (virtually in all major sources of protein, like any meat, eggs, etc.) and/or supplementation. BCAAs have been heavily studied and have shown to have positive influence on protein synthesis, adding lean muscle mass, and in some instances fighting fatigue during a workout.

(Click HERE  and HERE to learn more about BCAAs and studies on them).

From working out fasted and not taking them, to working out fasted and taking them, I do 100% feel a difference.

For example, if I do not take them I notice that I cannot train with as much as intensity. I feel weaker, have less endurance, and do not get as good of a pump if I skip out on them while training fasted. In contrast, when I take them fasted and workout I feel much more alive, energetic, my endurance and strength are at expected levels, and I get a better pump. A noticeable difference.

How do I know?

Lots of experimentation with myself.

Keyword: MYSELF.

This is what works out for me, and taking BCAAs helps me maximize my fasted workouts. I cannot feel weak and not get the work in that I need to, especially if I am going to lift heavy. I do not want any excuses holding me back. I have repeatedly got new PRs training fasted, and BCAAs are a critical factor in that.

The video below is me hitting a new all-time squat PR last week at 385 pounds around 188 pounds body weight (and beltless!).

The squat felt great, even though I had to grind it out. No issues with my back, and all while training fasted with BCAAs.

Fasted Training Benefits

The reason why I train fasted are many, but below are the main reasons why:

  • I want to stimulate fat loss.
  • I want to challenge my body to perform at different times.
  • It is more convenient for me.
  • I think it helps increase glucose sensitivity, and elevate testosterone and growth hormone production.
  • It helps boosts my metabolism, and maintain a healthy weight for me.

(Click HERE to learn more about fasted training benefits and how to start, and HERE for an interesting insulin study comparing fasted and non-fasted workouts).

For me, all these benefits are great, and the number one reason why I do fasted workouts is to help stimulate fat-loss and control my weight. The difference is astounding to me, and I love it. I feel leaner afterwards, and I notice that I can keep my weight under control a lot more when I do consistent fasted workouts.

The one thing you and I must do, however, is keep your fasted workouts and the routine you do to prepare for them consistent.

This way, I think, you will have more success in maximizing the benefits of training fasted, while progressing like you want during your training.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your experience with fasted workouts, I suggest you re-evaluate your thoughts and give it a shot.

Again, the worst thing you could do is be scared of training fasted. Keep your preparation routines consistent, and prioritize and/or schedule your days to where it fits your calendar. For example, trying intermittent fasting (or feasting, depending how you look at it) will aid in your pursuit of training fasted.

Is it a one-all solution to exponentially improve muscle building, strength, endurance, etc.?

No, but I DO THINK you can feel a significant and positive difference if you do it right.

That is why I highly recommend giving it a shot. It may feel draining at first, but if you make sure to hydrate, take a solid BCAA supplement (I take a brand called Scviation), and do it earlyish in the morning, I think you will really come to like it.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. If it calls you please comment down below, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

(Photo Credit: Main photo)

(Photo Credit: BCAA)